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If there was ever a time to keep motivated as a teacher, that time is now. With our new normal slowly but surely ushering in, teaching has taken on an entirely new look. We used to speak of keeping the momentum during the winter months, or finding the excitement to kick off a new year. But now, through distance learning and half-empty classrooms we are seeing a new kind of need for motivation arise.
5 Practical Ways to Keep Motivated as a Teacher
The overnight switch to distance learning and the lack of resources is something we remember all too well. The instant rise is children falling behind, mental health issues, and worries of the future put an incredible amount of stress on teachers. We were already dealing with standards, tests, and meeting the needs of the whole child.
With the way things are today, it has been really difficult staying motivated to continue the journey. I’ve seen many teacher-friends hang their towels and tap out of a career they once loved. Others decided to leave due to their own emotional, mental, and physical decline. So, how do we keep motivated as a teacher in today’s world? Here are some suggestions to hopefully answer that question.
Keep motivated by focusing on building relationships.
In the traditional setting, it would be difficult to find extra time to go off course and talk casually with students. With distance learning, starting your class a few minutes early can open the door for talking about your student’s weekend, day, or whatever is on their mind. Building relationships can help keep you motivated because there is a connection made that otherwise may not have been there. Building relationships with other teachers can also be motivational. Consider meeting via Zoom with other teachers in your grade level and chatting about creative ideas, best practices, and other ways to keep education exciting.
Get creative with the changes.
Utilizing virtual resources has been the foundation of keeping education alive during the pandemic. We’ve had to learn how to accommodate and use things that otherwise wouldn’t be part of the normal classroom. These programs and services can be continued even with in-person schooling. Look for creative ways to incorporate things you found during distance learning. Did you find a cool YouTube channel, a new math or reading website? Use them! Don’t drop Zoom, Google Classroom, and Flipgrid just because you may be back in the classroom.
Keep motivated by remembering your why.
Why did you decide to become a teacher? What were your dreams, passions, and goals for your teaching journey? It’s easy to forget these things when we’re in the thicket of things looking much different than when we started. But that’s just it… we shouldn’t allow current or future circumstances change our why. Taking time to reflect on this and reassessing your intentions can help recalibrate your mindset. Rewrite your goals, passions and ambitions as they pertain to your teaching career. Put them in a place you look at often as a simple reminder of why you chose to become a teacher.
Be intentional about your self care.
As teachers, we constantly pour into the lives of others. Majority of our thoughts are wrapped around how to help this student, how to help that student, and ways to make our classrooms better learning environments. As the end of the day and week, the teacher in us rarely shuts down. It’s usually in the moments when we’re exhausted, or even sick, that we realize that our personal care has gone out the window. Some of the best advice I received from a veteran teacher was to take time for myself. Invest in myself. And be intentional with making sure my cup was full. It’s never easy pouring from an empty cup.
Join a support group.
Rallying with other teachers for motivation, encouragement, and inspiration has always been a tactic that’s worked wonders. Having a small tribe of people you can depend on is motivating in and of itself. If you don’t already have a teacher support group, consider joining or starting one. Make every effort to meet at least once a week via Zoom, a Facebook Room, or any other mutual platform of choice. Some groups have topic-specific meetings, whereas others talk openly about something and let the conversation take its course. Regardless, having a support group will help keep you motivated as a teacher!
Although things look much different for us as teachers today, there are many benefits to embracing the changes. Don’t be afraid to switch things up, experiment with new modes of teaching, and go where your student’s needs lead. Look at past years, notice how far you’ve come, and make your self care a priority. We’re in this together!